BellaOnline Literary Review
Lady Butterfly by Joann Vitali


Engagement Photo Taken at Hicks Creek, 2002

Holly Van Leuven

Look at us, dearest,
My arm around your shoulder,
Our cotton shirts wrinkling as we
Sit on the splintery slats of
Hicks Creek Bridge, forcing
You close to me. Even then I knew
Why your hands keep to my shoulders.
The light is so bright against the blue
unclouded weather and your brow
is crumpled. We lean toward the shutter.

Your mouth is open, not quite laughing.
I cling to the bridge with tanned thighs
To keep from falling into the cold water
And a swifter peril. I am trying
To smile at your motherís lens the way
I smiled at my wedding shoes each morning,
When I peeked at them in their tissue paper bed.
I somehow know this smile wonít be seen by anyone
Either, will also live beneath my mattress skirt.
Did your mother cry, too, when you told her

You preferred to sleep with men?
I still wander down to Hicks Creek.
I sit on that bridge, my legs crossed, and
Think of us, and sometimes also I laugh, or cry.
I pretend the ripples of the water have strength
Enough to bear my echoes to you.
Like so many Ladies of Shalott, I know they die
Before they reach you, but I like to imagine
You and your knights bowing in homage,
The red plumes of your helmets falling repentant.

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